Staake, Bob. 2013. BLUEBIRD. New York, NY: Schwartz & Wade. ISBN 9780375870378 [Suggested Grade Levels K-3]
With computer generated graphics in shades of gray, blue, and white, Bob Staake wordlessly tells the story of the unlikely friendship between a lonely boy and a bird. They quickly form a close friendship providing much needed happiness and companionship for the boy.
The colors of each page help to convey the mood. Gray slightly dominates the beginning as we meet the young lonely boy, but as the friendship blossoms the blue becomes more prominent. An encounter with bullies at the climax of the story is filled with dark grays.
During a confrontation with bullies the bird lies as if mortally wounded. In the sadness, birds (of a variety of colors) come to lift the bluebird up to the skies along with the boy, so that he is able to say goodbye to his friends as the bluebird flies away.
It is in the climax and the resolution where the strength of BLUEBIRD lies. For older readers, such an ending implies death and heaven, however, younger readers find much more ambiguity. The open ending encourages them to imagine and wonder.
Readers must make many inferences while reading a wordless picture book. They are great opportunities to discuss the role of images in any picture book, and the various ways to tell a story. Teachers may also ask students to turn a wordless picture book, such as BLUEBIRD, into a reader’s theater script with heavy stage direction.
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